Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, this week celebrated Captain Aisha Al Mansoori who has become the UAE’s first female Emirati Captain in a commercial airline.
This is a significant milestone for aviation within the UAE and part of Etihad’s efforts to expand the roles of women in aviation, in particular the pilot community.
The command upgrade ceremony took place at Etihad's Crew Briefing Centre in the presence of the pilot's family, her peers in Etihad’s pilot community, and the airline's senior management.
The 33-year-old Captain joined Etihad's Cadet Pilot programme in October 2007 and was one of only two UAE National females in her batch. In 2010, Aisha Al Mansoori successfully graduated from the programme and took her first flight on an Airbus A320 to Amman, Jordan.
Since then, Al Mansoori climbed the ranks, completing the requisite flying hours to become a Senior First Officer. She was then the first female UAE national to fly the superjumbo passenger aircraft the Airbus A380.
To obtain the rank of Captain, Al Mansoori completed Etihad’s rigorous programme of checks and the mandatory number of flying hours required to be considered for the rank of Captain. She passed the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority's theoretical knowledge and flying exams successfully and officially became the first Emirati female Captain to hold an Air Transport Pilot License in the UAE.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, "Etihad is extremely proud of Captain Aisha’s achievement and the trailblazing role she is playing for women in aviation in the UAE. She will no doubt be the first of many, and Etihad looks forward to welcoming more female pilots to the rank of Captain in the future.
“Etihad remains committed to Emiratisation and to elevating Emirati women to play their part in the growth of the aviation industry.
"Aviation is gender blind, and to prove oneself, Etihad’s pilots undergo intensive exams and meet strict requirements on flying hours to ensure the highest standards of training in international aviation are upheld. Aisha earned her rank and will no doubt inspire her fellow Emiratis and young women around the world to follow their dreams in aviation.”
On this occasion, Captain Aisha Al Mansoori said: “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to join Etihad’s Cadet Pilot programme and grow my career over the years with Etihad. I am thankful for the tremendous support I have received from my instructors at Etihad and for their guidance through my training, which has shaped my skills and prepared me for the rank of Captain.
“I am proud to be the first female Emirati to be a Captain in a commercial airline, and I hope I will be an inspiration to young women to follow this career path.”
On 28 August, Al Mansoori will commence regular flying duties as a Captain at Etihad, a day which also marks Emirati Women’s Day.